Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

How to stabilize traditional binoculars?

  • Please log in to reply
49 replies to this topic

#1 Stuart W Johnson

Stuart W Johnson

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 56
  • Joined: 29 May 2020

Posted 30 October 2020 - 10:52 AM

I have been spoiled by my Canon 10x42L IS binoculars.  Using them is so easy.  Press the button and just view what I am looking at. 

 

I dusted off my 7x50 Steiner night hunters the other day.  Standing up, they seem almost useless.  The shake makes using them an exercise in frustration.  I can't get anything close to the good image I am used to seeing in my Canons. 

 

I am physically fit and healthy.  I don't drink coffee.  I have tried all the tricks on using my hat for stability, elbows against chest, using the strap.  These only marginally help.  I don't want to use a monopod or a tripod. 

 

What am I doing wrong?

 

Thinking of putting the Steiners up for sale and only using IS binoculars from this point on...


  • doctordub, litesong and ihf like this

#2 drt3d

drt3d

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 229
  • Joined: 01 Aug 2015
  • Loc: Cleveland Ohio USA

Posted 30 October 2020 - 11:04 AM

I am like you. Either I am spoiled with my Canon 10x42 IS binoculars, or I have a problem holding any pair of binoculars steady. Even 6x.

 

I get no joy any more using hand-held binoculars. I suspect that I am spoiled by the IS binoculars and there is nothing wrong with me, just my standards are much higher now. I am looking forward to a new generation of lightweight stabilized binoculars.

 

I have tried a few methods to stabilize non IS binoculars. You can use a chestpod. This is not as bad as a monopod or tripod, but still not the same as nothing.

 

I have been playing around (I need to post pictures). It is possible to have the binoculars almost totally stabilized while they are supported on a chestpod. You don't even have to hold them. Only your breathing will slowly move them move up and down, but I just hold my breath for a couple of seconds.

 

George



#3 Rich V.

Rich V.

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 7,415
  • Joined: 02 Jan 2005
  • Loc: Lake Tahoe area, Nevada

Posted 30 October 2020 - 11:07 AM

 

I dusted off my 7x50 Steiner night hunters the other day.  Standing up, they seem almost useless.  The shake makes using them an exercise in frustration.  

If you view seated instead of standing, it could likely be helpful.  Standing and looking up is the least stable option for most users even if it is the simplest.

 

I'm not a big fan of hand held use, either, and prefer the views of higher magnification binos that are mounted.

 

Rich


  • hallelujah, Sarkikos, sevenofnine and 1 other like this

#4 junomike

junomike

    ISS

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 20,916
  • Joined: 07 Sep 2009
  • Loc: Ontario

Posted 30 October 2020 - 11:34 AM

IMO the Image stabilized Binoculars makes one realize how shaky a non-IS Binocular really is.


  • BRCoz and Sarkikos like this

#5 Stuart W Johnson

Stuart W Johnson

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 56
  • Joined: 29 May 2020

Posted 30 October 2020 - 11:52 AM

I am an admitted binocular novice.  But, I don't get it.  Why would a person pay $3000 to $4000 for an Alpha binocular if they are not able to take advantage of the quality of the optic when handheld? 

 

Those binoculars seem much better than our ability to hold them. 

 

Or, is it just assumed that they will be mounted on something?  That seems pretty inconvenient. 


Edited by Stuart W Johnson, 30 October 2020 - 11:53 AM.

  • ihf likes this

#6 ihf

ihf

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 546
  • Joined: 14 Jan 2019
  • Loc: California, USA

Posted 30 October 2020 - 11:54 AM



Thinking of putting the Steiners up for sale and only using IS binoculars from this point on...

The Canon 10x42L IS are a high bar with regards to stabilization and view. If this is your baseline you will not be able to own another pair of binoculars[*]. They are that good. The 15x and 18x are good but not as solid. If you wanted to use them, you would still need to learn some techniques. The new x32 Canons have good stabilization but no optical benefit over your 10x42.

 

Standing I find 8x56 too shaky but I tolerate it. The reason is it gives me full 7mm exit pupils. I feel the Steiner 7x50 could be complementary to your Canon 10x42, especially for dark sites. Give them some time!

 

[*] Except for maybe VisionKing 5x25 or Orion 2x54?



#7 ihf

ihf

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 546
  • Joined: 14 Jan 2019
  • Loc: California, USA

Posted 30 October 2020 - 11:56 AM

Why would a person pay $3000 to $4000 for an Alpha binocular if they are not able to take advantage of the quality of the optic when handheld? 

I can't speak for them but comfort, eye relief and wide views can be bought for money. But I agree that stabilization should be higher on the list. One problem is that binocular development is driven by terestrial viewing, which is easier to hold still.

 

It is probably of small consolation, but you can and will learn to tolerate the brownian motion of shaky stars over time and care less.


Edited by ihf, 30 October 2020 - 12:00 PM.


#8 Herr_Alien

Herr_Alien

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 54
  • Joined: 21 Aug 2013
  • Loc: Romania

Posted 30 October 2020 - 12:07 PM

I gave up standing while observing; I sit on a chair. That alone removed most of the image shake.
  • Sarkikos, scfahy and jazzsalsadrummer like this

#9 Cestus

Cestus

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 378
  • Joined: 30 Jul 2019

Posted 30 October 2020 - 12:14 PM

That's why I use a tripod or monopod. I only use hand held for scanning or very quick looks.


  • mooreorless and jazzsalsadrummer like this

#10 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 89,402
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2004
  • Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA

Posted 30 October 2020 - 05:00 PM

My two cents:

 

Holding binoculars steady depends on many factors. The lists are headed The Observer, The Binoculars and the Target/Objects.

 

Some binoculars I can hold rock solid and some, not so much.. 

 

Jon


  • Sarkikos and jazzsalsadrummer like this

#11 DeanD

DeanD

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 342
  • Joined: 05 May 2018
  • Loc: South Australia

Posted 30 October 2020 - 06:45 PM

I love the idea of the headrest that has been developed for the Swarovski NL Pure series. (see https://www.swarovsk...nl-pure-c210112 and scroll down) I am planning to make a version to see if I can adapt the idea to other binoculars. It will be interesting to see how much difference it makes.

 

- Dean


  • jazzsalsadrummer likes this

#12 Stuart W Johnson

Stuart W Johnson

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 56
  • Joined: 29 May 2020

Posted 30 October 2020 - 08:00 PM

That forehead rest looks interesting.

#13 Jeff Bennett

Jeff Bennett

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 217
  • Joined: 30 Oct 2005
  • Loc: Clayton, California

Posted 30 October 2020 - 10:13 PM

I love the idea of the headrest that has been developed for the Swarovski NL Pure series. (see https://www.swarovsk...nl-pure-c210112 and scroll down) I am planning to make a version to see if I can adapt the idea to other binoculars. It will be interesting to see how much difference it makes.

 

- Dean

The forehead rest was actually a significant factor in my recent purchase of the 10X42 Swarovski NL.  It took a little getting used to, but I now find that it does improve stability noticeably.  It has had the effect of making these 10X42 the binocular that I regularly reach for first whether for use in the day or at night.

 

I have owned the Canon 10X42 L IS before, and while they are very nice optically and the IS system makes a big difference, there were other aspects of the ergonomics that led me to pass them on.


  • DeanD likes this

#14 SonnyE

SonnyE

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,772
  • Joined: 01 Nov 2015
  • Loc: Cali for ni a

Posted 30 October 2020 - 10:35 PM

Oh, I have no problem holding my binoculars steady.

It's the foundation holding them that is unsteady. smirk.gif

 

So I use a Parallelogram.

If they shake then, we are having another Earthquake. shocked.gif


  • BRCoz, 25585 and jazzsalsadrummer like this

#15 Sketcher

Sketcher

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,562
  • Joined: 29 Jun 2017
  • Loc: Under Earth's Sky

Posted 30 October 2020 - 11:17 PM

If a person feels the need to stabilize traditional, non-IS binoculars, then perhaps they should resort to a mount of some type for them or switch over to IS binoculars.

 

On the other hand, traditional non-IS binoculars have been used effectively for many different purposes long before the existence of IS binoculars.  In many situations there's little need to stabilize them in order to benefit from their use.  The brain can be trained to adapt to their non-stabilized use.

 

Use the traditional binoculars.  Adapt to their use.  Try different approaches.  Use them.  Practice with them.  Use them.  Practice some more.  If need be, try in a different way.  Use them some more.  The brain learns and adapts after a while; but if one doesn't have the time for that process, then buy or build a mount or purchase a pair of IS binoculars.

 

For myself, traditional non-IS binoculars are more than adequate for all of the things I use binoculars for.  I've never, not even briefly, considered purchasing a pair of IS binoculars.  For me, they're not necessary.  They're not wanted.  They're not cost effective (for me) and I don't want to get tied down by batteries when I don't need to use them.  But I've already developed the skills to make effective use of my traditional binoculars.

 

Many of the newer kids on the block aren't interested in developing skills.  They just want to see stuff; and they want to see it now.  For them, the solution is more likely to be either the use of a mount or the expense of IS and an endless supply of batteries.


  • eklf, daniel_h, WALL.E and 2 others like this

#16 Bill Barlow

Bill Barlow

    Aurora

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,832
  • Joined: 03 Dec 2007
  • Loc: Overland Park KS

Posted 31 October 2020 - 10:59 AM

I hold my 10x50 binoculars near the end of the front objectives and it seems to reduce the shakes a bit more than holding them toward the rear.  I’ve never used IS binoculars mainly because of the high price to pay.  My 8x40 pair are easier to hand hold but not immune from a little vibration from time to time.  I used to own a pair of 12x60’s but too hard to hold still even holding by the front objectives.

 

Bill


  • BRCoz likes this

#17 clearwaterdave

clearwaterdave

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,439
  • Joined: 27 May 2014
  • Loc: Western Maine

Posted 31 October 2020 - 12:13 PM

I can't hold a bino steady.,even seated.,a quick peek is ok but not to really try to view.,A simple pipemount holds them very steady.,and is a treat to use with different counterweights,.lol.,cheers.,

Attached Thumbnails

  • 20170411_131120(2)jpg.jpg
  • 20171003_173429jpg.jpg.jpg
  • 20180809_154905jpg(1).jpg

  • doctordub, daniel_h, Steeveaux and 4 others like this

#18 gwlee

gwlee

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,423
  • Joined: 06 Sep 2015
  • Loc: 38N 120W

Posted 31 October 2020 - 12:34 PM

I find 50mm binoculars weighing about 3# easier for me to hold steady than smaller binoculars, and 7x binoculars easier to hold than 10x binoculars. All shake some, but not so much I want to mount them except in rare circumstances. A reclining chair makes a big difference in steadiness for astronomy and is much more comfortable besides. 


  • Jon Isaacs and SMark like this

#19 Bob Myler

Bob Myler

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,585
  • Joined: 18 May 2006
  • Loc: Davisville, MO

Posted 31 October 2020 - 12:39 PM

Perhaps a 3-Axis Smartphone Gimbal Stabilizer could be adapted to fit smaller binoculars?....

 

https://www.amazon.c...photo/196573011

 

https://www.amazon.c...&node=196573011

 

Or maybe modify a stabilizing system designed for video for larger binoculars?....

 

https://www.bhphotov...27/N/3717223527



#20 25585

25585

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11,490
  • Joined: 29 Aug 2017
  • Loc: In a valley, in the UK. Dark end of the street.

Posted 03 November 2020 - 07:25 AM

With a tripod or P-mount, I use this https://www.berlebac...h=details&id=70


Edited by 25585, 03 November 2020 - 07:29 AM.


#21 ScopeJunkie

ScopeJunkie

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 52
  • Joined: 24 Oct 2020
  • Loc: Earth (Phoenix and Louisville

Posted 03 November 2020 - 09:21 AM

I love seeing the night sky in wide field “stereovision”, but I built a DIY parallelogram mount. It works great, but it’s pretty bulky.
If you need help stabilizing your binos and a tripod/monopod/parallelogram mount is out of the question, then you need one of these:

https://www.adorama....rge/mvvs600.jpg

It’s a Professional handheld stabilizer system w/counterweights designed for video/dslr cameras, but it uses the same 1/4-20 thread a bino mount uses. You can get one for $25.

#22 ScopeJunkie

ScopeJunkie

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 52
  • Joined: 24 Oct 2020
  • Loc: Earth (Phoenix and Louisville

Posted 03 November 2020 - 09:22 AM

The handheld stabilizer even has a padded handle to hold

#23 ScopeJunkie

ScopeJunkie

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 52
  • Joined: 24 Oct 2020
  • Loc: Earth (Phoenix and Louisville

Posted 03 November 2020 - 09:26 AM

I almost bought one to try, but my only concern was if it lost effectiveness the closer you got to the zenith. I would love to hear how one works with binos that actually used one. Only $25 to try. 😁

#24 Gordon Rayner

Gordon Rayner

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,320
  • Joined: 24 Mar 2007

Posted 04 November 2020 - 01:58 AM

A shoulder supported inertial stabilizer has been described by your servant several times.

A padded wood frame rests on the shoulders and holds the binocular. Bungee cords, ropes, hinge grabber, binoc body grabber, etc,( your choice), attaches the binoc to that frame.

An 8 foot - ten foot long painters pole, or equivalent ( Home Depot, Lowe's, etc) extends forward , to provide most of the inertia.

A short board extends from the frame some 2 feet behind the observer's head. On it is a counterweight to balance the front pole and the other components which lie forward of the shoulders.

The length of the rearward counterweight support board should be less than the distance from the shoulders to the ground, for a seated observer.

#25 Stuart W Johnson

Stuart W Johnson

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 56
  • Joined: 29 May 2020

Posted 04 November 2020 - 02:57 AM

I took my 7x50 Steiner Night Hunters out tonight to look at the stars. I am very new at this. I used a reclining chase lounge chair. I gave up after a few minutes and used my Canon 10x42 IS binoculars.

The Steiners are essentially worthless for me for observing.

My opinion is that traditional handheld binoculars will let you see if something is there. If you really want to study the beauty of something and observe it, image stabilization or a mount is required.
  • SMark and jazzsalsadrummer like this


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics